8 best women’s running jackets for autumn that are breathable and weatherproof
As the chillier weather approaches, you'll need an extra layer for your running kit
As we descend into colder climes, runners among us will be trading our shorts and sports bras for leggings and long-sleeved tops. But one item of clothing we often neglect when we venture out for a run is one we’d almost never normally leave home without: a jacket.
To clarify, we’re not talking heavy-duty duffle coats – that would be rather uncomfortable and would undoubtedly slow you down. Today’s athleisure companies make a whole host of suitable outerwear for running that is both lightweight and warm.
Some flatter the figure via tight fits and elongating stitching, while others provide protection from the elements with hoods and waterproof fabrics.
But what makes an all-round good running jacket? Fabric is important; you need something light enough that you can tie around your waist if desired but not so flimsy that it allows all of the cold air in. You also need decent-sized pockets to stash your keys and possibly your smartphone – this is key for those going on long-distance runs, who might also want to bring snacks/tissues/running gels with them.
For those who favour night-time running, reflective detail is essential, too, for keeping you visible and safe on the roads. And of course, design plays a key role for some.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
Lululemon define jacket: £98, Lululemon
Lululemon rarely gets it wrong when it comes to running gear – its leggings are practically world-renowned – but one of its underrated hero products is undoubtedly its Define jacket. This slim-fitting zip-up garment is the perfect additional layer for a blustery autumn run. It fits like a glove, features loopholes for your thumbs and is thin enough to make you feel like you’re not wearing anything at all – plus, the design is undeniably stylish, with clever stitching down the torso that’s designed to flatter any figure. There are zip pockets on either side, too, that are just about big enough to squeeze in a smartphone and a set of house keys.
Sweaty Betty fast track running jacket: £95, Sweaty Betty
This urban running jacket features a handy hood, making it ideal for those rainy runs. You can also pack away the hood if you like. A reflective trim on the side of either sleeve makes it a safe choice for evening running, too. And it features a back pocket that you can pop your essentials in if desired. The design is not quite as fashion-forward as some of the other jackets mentioned here, but it does feature an innovative layered look that offers a sportswear-chic aesthetic.
Perff studio supreme jacket: £210, Perff
This is for people who want a running jacket that doesn’t look like a running jacket. The gold zip detailing and sleeve logo are akin to something you’d find on a streetwear piece. But this item is surprisingly practical, too, with perforated mesh at the back that’s designed to keep you cool and two small pockets to store any running necessities. It also features a stylish black stripe on the back, another design choice that gives it a fashionable edge over some of the brand’s other jacket offerings.
M&S collection quick dry half zip run top: £19.50, Marks & Spencer
This simple running jacket is perfectly workable for the average runner. It might be a little too loose-fitting for someone going on a long-distance run (and the fact that the zip can only be undone part of the way might be irritating a few miles in) but, for a quick 5km, this will do the job quite nicely. The price is reasonable as well, a welcome change in the increasingly expensive world of athleisure. The fabric is really breathable and stretches easily, meaning it can be easily and comfortably tied around your waist if you get too hot during your run.
Nike tech pack: £105, Net-a-porter
This cool, lightweight jacket is brilliant for those runs when the weather is against you. The sleek white shell is waterproof and relatively sheer, making it a stylish choice. Best to wear it over a warm, long-sleeved top when temperatures really start to drop, though, as that thin material alone isn’t enough to keep you warm – but it will almost definitely keep you dry.
Adidas by Stella McCartney performance jacket: £99.95, Adidas
You’d never know by looking at it, but this jacket is made from upcycled plastic waste collected from remote islands and beaches. The fit is feminine and flattering, which shouldn’t be surprising when you consider it’s the result of Stella McCartney’s long-lasting collaboration with sportswear giant Adidas. It also has several practical benefits, like ventilating mesh that will keep your temperature low if you start to get sweaty mid-run. But the real plus of this jacket is that you could probably wear it with jeans and nobody would bat an eyelid. In short, it’s a truly versatile product.
Under Armour women’s zip jacket: £36, Under Armour
This jacket is surprisingly soft and offers a pleasant fit; not too tight, but close-knit. The sleeves are long, too, and fit snugly round the wrist to prevent cold air coming in. The zip comes down just past your breast bone, a nice length for both practical and sartorial purposes. You can unzip it when you’re feeling a bit overheated and reveal a significant amount of skin, or simply unzip it to reveal a sprightly sports bra underneath, adding a splash of colour to your workout look if the rest is all-black.
Reebok X Victoria Beckham hooded shell jacket: £230, Net-a-porter
It’s no wonder this is one of the most stylish inclusions in the list, given that British fashion designer Victoria Beckham helped create it. It’s a looser fit than some of the other jackets mentioned here, so might be more suited to those going on a light jog as opposed to a long-distance run (all that material flapping around can get annoying after about 20 minutes). But the drawstring hem means you can adjust the jacket’s fit and make it a little tighter if desired. There’s also a hidden internal hood to protect you from rain and snow. Elasticated cuffs help to keep the chilly air from creeping up your arms. Bonus points.
The verdict: Women’s running jackets for autumn
It has to be the Lululemon define jacket thanks to its flattering fit and lightweight fabric. This is the running jacket that will go the distance in terms of mileage and durability. It also looks impeccably stylish and can easily be worn to a post-workout brunch.
IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.
Black Friday 2019 is nearly here. Read our guide on how to get the best Black Friday deals